Cognitive bias is one of those terms that we hear here pretty commonly but unless you took a Psychology 101 class in college, you are probably not super familiar with what this term actually means.
Generally speaking a cognitive bias is a systematic error in processing and interpreting information in the world around us in a way that impacts our decisions and judgments. Put another way, a cognitive bias can be thought of as some of the “errors” that occur as we create our “subjective reality” from the perception of the world around us. An individual’s construction of reality, not the objective input, dictates our behavior in the world. Because of this, our biases – our cognitive biases – may sometimes lead to a distortion in our perception and, consequently, inaccurate judgment, illogical interpretation, or what is broadly called irrationality.
So what are these biases? Well, there are a whole lot. There are biases specific to groups (i.e., in-group/out-group bias, homogeneity bias), decision-making biases (i.e., sunk costs fallacy, illusory correlation), and biases that impact memory (i.e., consistency bias).
These, and more, are explored in this month’s episode of Jargon Schmargon.